Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan


With the AFL season in full swing, Melbourne streets are
a sea of two-tone colour combinations. Wear your heart on your sleeve, or
around your neck and join the throngs at Etihad Stadium. Every room in the nearby
Hilton Melbourne South Wharf has a city view, and the hotel is offering guests
20 percent off when they stay two nights, until December 31. Book seven nights
before you stay, rooms start from
$188 a night, 1300 445 866,
In Tasmania’s highlands, your stomach will find its
heartland at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Block your diary out for an
afternoon of Signature wine & cheese tasting, a three-course dinner in the
Highland restaurant as well as breakfast daily on its two-night Gourmet Escape,
staying in a Pencil Pine cabin. Appease guilt by strolling paths through some
of Australia’s most spectacular wilderness. Book and travel before August 31.
Normally $357, pay $292 a person for two nights, twin share, 1300 987 600,
Cypress Lakes Resort
$$ NSW
If you
dream of golf or wine in your sleep, take it the next step at the Hunter
Valley’s Cypress Lakes Resort, whose 200 villas overlook an 18-hole
championship golf course or vineyards. The villas are self-contained and there
are also three pools, gym, kids’ club and golf and tennis clinics. Stay three
nights, pay for two on midweek stays Monday-Thursday. Accommodation is a
one-bedroom villa and includes buffet breakfast and Peter Morrissey toiletries.
Stay before July 30, costs from $398 a villa, 1800 061 818,
Cosy up at the Gold Coast’s most decorated hotel, the
lush Palazzo Versace, whose Captain’s Lounge, Aqua Marine package includes one
night’s accommodation, breakfast and 2.5 hours whale spotting in the VIP
Captain’s Lounge on the $3.5 million custom-designed whale watching vessel, Spirit of Migloo. Snack as you spot
humpback whales, dolphins, pelicans and hunting birds. Travel until 1 November,
costs $639 for two people, (07) 5509 8000,
Longitude 131, Uluru
$$$$ NT
One of the world’s most iconic views can be found outside
your luxury safari tent at Uluru’s Voyages Longitude 131° wilderness camp. Save
$468 a person when you book by March 31, travel until June 20 and December 1 –
March 31. Package includes all meals, drinks, tours, entrance to Uluru-Kata
Tjuta National park and return Ayres Rock Airport transfers. Costs from $2634 a
person for three nights, twin share, 1800 044 066
Set off the coast of Port Macquarie, Lord Howe Island is
billed as the world’s last paradise, with coral reefs to snorkel, fish to play
with and green sea turtles to admire. Capella Lodge’s Fly Free, Stay 7 Pay 6
rolls two deals into one, with free flights from Sydney and a free night when
you book a week’s stay on the island, saving $2200 a person. Travel between
July 28 – September 30. Costs from $3900 a person, twin share, (02) 9918 4355,
Dresden’s old town is postcard perfect, with an ambience
of culture. Camp at the new Swissôtel
Dresden Am Schloss
and save 20 percent on the best available rate
when you stay two nights or more on stays between June 30 and September 2. Ask
about their double air miles and get a room upgrade and late check-out. Costs
from $112 a night, 1800 12 1043,
Amari Emerald Cove Koh Chang
Set on the Cambodian border, over 70 percent of the Thai
island of Koh Chang is lush rainforest, with rushing waterfalls and idyllic
beaches. And it sounds even better with a bargain: Amari Emerald Cove Koh Chang
is offering six nights for the price of three on stays between June 6-26 and
July 11-October 31. Honeymooners also get 4pm check out, fruit, flowers and
cake. Costs from $717 a person for six nights, twin share, 1300 939 414,
Say hi to the neighbours, also one of the world’s newest
democracies, Timor-Leste. Intrepid’s 15-day tour stays at simple huts on remote
beaches, joins in local eco-tourism projects and spots whales while crossing
the Wetar Strait to Atauro Island and explore in an outrigger. Save $675 when
you book before July 11 for July 15 departures. Costs $2025 a person, land
only, 1300 018 871,  
Timor-Leste woman (Intrepid Travel)
See the best of the African east, covering Kenya, Rwanda,
Tanzania and Uganda by safari truck with up to 23 new mates, ticking the Big
Five off your safari list. Save 30 percent off Gecko’s 22-day Complete East
Africa trip when booked before June 30, for travel by December 31. Prices
include transport crew, all park fees and camping gear.  Was $4448, now $3580 a person, twin share
1300 854 500,
Celebrate Chic Britannia by doing London in serious
style. Your hotel is either the deeply luxurious 45 Park Lane in Mayfair or the
The Hempel near Hyde Park. Add on dinner at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester,
afternoon teas at The Ritz and Brown’s Hotel and passes to the Tate Gallery,
V&A Museum and Buckingham Palace’s ‘Diamonds: A royal Jubilee Celebration”.
Includes return business-class fares with China Southern Save 5 percent on
bookings before June 30 for travel between June 30 – October 7. Costs from
$9585.50 a person, for five days, twin share, (02) 9144 6015,
Inner peace is found in the “land of the thunder dragon”,
the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, which hosts the Mindfulness Yoga and
Meditation Retreat in January 2013. This 11-day tour explores the remote
Thimphu and Punakha valleys, with guided walks and visits to temples and
markets around the Paro valley as well as a Lhab Sang Puja, a ritual ceremony
and blessing by Buddhist monks. The journey includes six nights at the
luxurious Zhiwa Ling Resort where Mindfulness Yoga instructor Sally Flynn will
lead the group through meditation and yoga suitable for all comers, from
beginners to devotees. The tour departs on January 9, 2013. Costs from $4323 a
person twin share (excludes airfares), 1300 367 875,

Source: Sun Herald